U.S. stocks were mixed on Wednesday as investors braced themselves for the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate decision due to be released later in the day. Markets are expecting the Fed to pause its interest rate hiking agenda, keeping rates in the range of 5% to 5.25%.
At around midday in New York City, the S&P 500 edged slightly higher by 0.32%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index was up 0.38%. In contrast, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 0.29%.
Oil futures were down, with US benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude falling 0.7% to $68.90 per barrel. Global benchmark Brent crude declined by 0.8% to $73.63 per barrel.
Market analysts are expecting an interest rate pause to have a positive impact on stocks going forward, with Julian Emanuel, who leads Evercore ISI’s Equity and Portfolio strategy mentioning how “pauses have historically been good for equities.”
Typically, the S&P 500 outperforms following rate hike pauses. Over the past 30 years, the S&P 500 was up 5% in the 3 months following a pause, rising as much as 16% in the 12 months that follow.